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Transcript: Bill O'Brien Conference Call 9/4

Texans head coach Bill O'Brien addresses the New England media during his conference call on September 4, 2018.


Q: Those last three years you were in New England, you worked closely with Tom Brady. When you watch him now, how similar are his movement skills with his legs back to what you remember from working with him?

BO: I mean, there's - to me, like I think he's actually improved if he was able to do that. Look, Mike [Reiss] I think this guy is a great football player, he works so hard at all the different parts of his game relative to mechanics and knowledge of the game, knowledge of his teammates. He's always working at it. I can remember when I was there, phone calls in the offseason, you know, "What's happening here? Hey, I was thinking about this." You know, always thinking about football and how to get the edge and that's why he's the player he is and he's had the career that he's had and that's why he's still playing. Because he's found that edge and he continues to try to get better every single day. 

Q: Whether it's Brady or any quarterback at the end of their career, from your view of coaching the position, how important are the legs, the movement skills and the anticipation for that player to keep playing at a high level as he gets to the later parts of his career?

BO: Yeah, I think that - you know, first of all, people talk about the later parts of his career. I don't really see where his - you know, I don't know when his career's going to be over because he's playing at a - I mean, he was the MVP last year Mike [Reiss], you know what I mean? So, like when is his - I don't even know what the definition of latter part of this guy's career would be. He's the MVP of the league last year. So, I think that with every veteran player that's lasted over 10 to 15 years in our league, whatever position they play, they always find a way to take care of their bodies in different ways. You know, every guy does it in different ways and they find a way to keep their legs in shape, to keep their upper bodies in shape, to keep their minds sharp relative to the game and obviously Tom [Brady] does a great job of that. 

Q: How is Deshaun Watson looking? Does he look as comfortable as he did last season using his legs? Does it look like he trusts his legs after his ACL injury?

BO: It does, it does. He started back in OTAs, he participated in much of what we did during the offseason program. He was basically full-go during the offseason program and I think it's just something that - like I've said before, he has been through it before. Unfortunately, he has been through it before at Clemson so he had a really good idea, good grasp of how the rehab process would go. He's a very mature guy, he's a very hard-working guy and he's been with us since we started back on April 18. 

Q: Without comparing Brady and Watson, you talked about some of the things that Brady did in terms of being all football and wanting to talk football all the time - do you see any of those similar characteristics in Watson in the time you've worked with him?

BO: I do, I do. Deshaun is in that regard, very passionate about football. Loves to watch tape, loves to talk about the game, come in early, stay late. Always has good suggestions, ideas on game plans or certain things that maybe our defense was doing in training camp, how can we take advantage of that, this, that and the other whether it was a preseason game or against our own defense. So he really loves the game and it shows every day.

Q: I know Brad Seely was added to your coaching staff. What has he brought in terms of placing more emphasis on special teams?

BO: Yeah, he's been doing it for a long time at a very high level. He's a really good teacher. He's very good in the room as to how he goes about teaching the guys, whether it's the technique or the scheme or whatever that we're looking for. And then on the field, he does a very good job of getting guys to play fast and not think too much. I think that's one trait that I've seen that I really - you know, I'm glad he's on our staff. And then, I think he's very good at situational football. You know, he's helped me already with certain things that happen in the game because he's been through a lot of situations as a special teams coach in this league. He's been a real good addition to our staff.

Q: Do you feel the Patriots could be more unpredictable on offense given the personnel groupings they've used this year given they don't have much depth at the receiver position?

BO: I think they're always unpredictable. I mean, I think that their gameplan on offense - I think Josh McDaniels is the best in the game at what he does, gameplan, week-to-week different plan, using different players in different spots. I think we're going to prepare very hard but once the game starts, you know like the old saying goes, preparation is out the window. Now, what are they actually doing and how are we going to adjust to it? They've been at the top of the league in offense for a lot of years and it's a great scheme and it's a great philosophy and we just have to be ready to go and compete on Sunday. 

Q: Do you like playing the Patriots in Week One to give your team a good measuring stick of where they're at?

BO: I think, you know I think whoever we open up against that's - somebody asked me the same question yesterday in our media deal here in Houston. You know, every week is a huge challenge. Obviously, opening up with the New England Patriots, one of the teams in the Super Bowl last year, is a huge challenge for us. But every week's a challenge guys. I think that it's so very difficult to win one game in this league. There's great coaches and obviously great players on the other sideline and it's just a very, very difficult league to win games in. So no matter what the schedule-makers say, that's who we're opening up against and we've got to be ready to go and that's what we're going to try to do.

Q: Deshaun Watson was so good last year in the games he played. Do you almost have to be okay with it if there's any kind of regression from a production standpoint?

BO: Well, I think that every year's different and I think he realizes that. I think that obviously whatever happened last year, it was basically a six-game window into what he can do and that's what obviously teams have been studying a lot of relative to us this year. You know, look, I think Deshaun works very hard. He is just not a guy that rests on any kind of laurels, he's a guy that really works hard to get better every day. He talks about that a lot, he wants to try to get one percent, two percent better at something every single day. You know, look, it's a different year and there's always going to be adversity that you're going to have to deal with. Especially in this league, like I just said in the previous answer, there's a lot of tough games, lot of tough opponents and we'll deal with it as it comes.

Q: Tyrann Mathieu said earlier this week he's excited to go against Tom Brady. What does he add to your secondary?

BO: He has been a really good addition. He's a pretty smart player, very instinctive player, he can play in different spots, he's a versatile player, very, very good in the meetings. Focused, professional guy. Really comes into work every day with a good mindset. He's been a real good addition to our team. 

Q: How valuable is it to defend the middle of the field in today's NFL?

BO: I think it's really important. I think that with the way that the tight end position is now, looking at obviously Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] there in New England who's a great player and some of the guys we have, some of the guys in our division, throughout the league, slot receivers, lot of good slot receivers around the league. Very, very important to be able to defend the middle of the field and have guys that make you strong up the middle whether it's linebackers, safeties, nickels, whatever it is, really important. 

Q: How much can you rely on the game film from last year's match-up knowing the Patriots have changed a lot of their personnel?

BO: I think you have to look at everything. I think that it's important that you take inventory of obviously the games that you've played against them and then whatever other games you feel that you need to look at. But you need to watch a lot of tape and try to prepare as best you can. Try to put as good a gameplan as you can together for all three phases and then like I said in the answer a couple minutes ago, I think you have to just be ready to adjust just like any NFL game. Once the game starts, whatever you've prepared, that's great, but if they're doing something different, you have to be able to adjust and I think that's part of what makes this league difficult, being able to do that.

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